A big part of the Noise Problems collection comes straight from the OCCII. An amazing program led by several people in unisson. At the cusp of the wave there's Sjoerd and Rogier who can both testifie for the DIY approach used in running a legendary place like the OCCII as oposed to other somewhat more mainstream venues in Amsterdam. From Knik, the OCCII organized zine with an eye on culture, the interview with Sjoerd and Rogier sheds some light.
In its 20-plus years of existence, OCCII has been run largely by volunteers, allowing the venue to offer a diverse program while remaining cheap to attend. The volunteers come and go, but for more than ten years, on any given day, chances are high that you’ll find Sjoerd Stolk and Rogier Smal at OCCII. Sjoerd behind the computer or mixing desk, and Rogier as a handyman repairing any one of the many things in need of his attention. They share their memories and thoughts on the place where they’ve come to spend so much of their time.
Even though OCCII has no centralised programming, since the early 2000s Sjoerd Stolk has been the embodiment of OCCII, sometimes literally. It’s been the case that bands would collect their instruments the night after a show at OCCII, and Sjoerd would still be there: cleaning or sleeping. For years he’s kept OCCII going, by ensuring a high-quality programme, running errands and taking on odd-jobs, with the help of a large pool of volunteers, who, apart from offering assistance, often need to be assisted themselves. It’s hard to get time to talk to Sjoerd, because he’s always hard at work. Rogier Smal, with whom Sjoerd works for the record label Toztizok Zoundz, and has organised countless shows, first heard of OCCII when he played there for the fist time in the mid-nineties. On a sunny spring day, the three of us take a walk outside to talk OCCII.
“I remember the first time I ever came here,” Rogier says, “I was 16 or 17, so it must have been ’95 or ’96, something like that. I’m from Stoutenburg, near Amersfoort, and it was a major thing for me that I was going to play a show in Amsterdam. I had pictured a venue where lots of tough punkers would go. And, of course, you want to be tough yourself when you’re 17 and you’re in a punk band. But when we arrived, there was this banner near the stage from De Kinderpret, the Wednesday’s children’s programme. And there was a dragon on it. It was a lot less tough than I’d imagined OCCII to be.”